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Beijing Invest Japan Seminar on Tourism
Four governors from Japan promote local tourism and investment environments

May 2015

On May 22, JETRO hosted the Beijing Invest Japan Seminar on Tourism in Beijing, China. The event was held in cooperation with the Japan-China Tourism and Cultural Exchange Group, and speakers who took the podium included Toshihiro Nikai, Member of the House of Representative and Chairman of the All Nippon Travel Agents Association, who organized the group; Li Jinzao, Director of the China National Tourism Administration; and the four governors of Hokkaido Saitama, Fukui and Nara. All speakers made a call for investing in Japan, where business opportunities continue to grow with the rise in visitors from overseas. The seminar was attended by 180 people, mostly from tourism-related companies, and received attention from various news outlets.

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Scene of venue

Japan’s rapidly growing appeal as a tourism market

JETRO Chairman and CEO Hiroyuki Ishige, host of the seminar, spoke on several topics such as that the increased stock prices and improved corporate performances triggered by Abenomics have drawn in great investment, which in turn is helping to bring about a virtuous cycle of increasing wages and consumption. On top of this concerted efforts are being spent in reaching out to investors with favorable conditions being prepared for foreign companies. In particular, he emphasized that the government is in the process of measures such as easing visa conditions and increasing the number of duty-free stores in anticipation of the Tokyo Olympics to be held in 2020, and that the number of tourists to Japan from abroad is expected to grow even further, making the tourism market an attractive one.

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Opening remarks by JETRO Chairman Ishige

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Speech by Chairman Nikai of the All Nippon Travel Agents Association(Member of the House of Representative)

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Speech by Director Li of the China National Tourism Administration

In his speech which followed, Chairman Nikai stressed that interaction through tourism is of utmost importance to both countries, and that it represented an exciting business chance for Chinese companies. He explained how the Japanese government, led by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Japan Tourism Agency, together with JETRO offer comprehensive backup in support of such enterprises. Director Li of the China National Tourism Administration stated that his agency supports investment by Chinese companies into the tourism field abroad and made an appeal to the Japanese side for the provision of information on preparation of its investment environment and related topics.

Promotion of Japan’s tourism resources and investment environment

Giving the keynote address for the seminar, Vice Commissioner Kuniharu Ebina from the Japan Tourism Agency promoted the fact that Japan aims at increasing the level of visitors to Japan, currently at over 13 million, to 20 million by the year 2020, and is making concerted efforts to see this happen.
The four governors from Japan introduced alluring tourism resources and the investment environment of their respective prefectures, as well as information such as on success they have had in their relations with China.
Hokkaido Governor Harumi Takahashi spoke on the prominence of her prefecture by giving examples of investment into the area from Australia, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Korea. She also promoted Hokkaido’s magnificent nature, which was used for shooting the Chinese film “If You Are the One,” and its safe food products. Governor Kiyoshi Ueda of Saitama Prefecture publicized local tourist spots such as Koedo-Kawagoe and the fact that Saitama has the fifth largest GDP within in the country and benefits from being an important strategic point for transportation in East Japan. He also brought up his prefecture’s high accumulation of companies in the nano-carbon and aviation industries. From Fukui Prefecture, Governor Issei Nishikawa spoke of how the Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) was opened in March of this year, making access to Tokyo considerably easier. As the prefecture with the “highest level of happiness in Japan,” he emphasized Fukui’s top-class environment for both living and working and its abundance of medical and welfare facilities. Finally, Nara Governor Shogo Arai took the podium to promote Nara’s long history of relations with China, which span 1300 years, and that even today the prefecture avidly pursues strong international relations with a particular focus on East Asia.

A business chance for Chinese companies in Japan

At the end of the seminar two Chinese firms which are developing inroads into Japan in the tourism field spoke before the audience. First, General Manager Sun Zhencheng of the Japanese division of Spring Airlines, a carrier serving Japanese locations in Ibaraki, Takamatsu and Saga, explained how his company developed operations with support from JETRO. It now aims at placing Japan as a vital hub for its international lines, and within the next three to four years plans on conducting over 150 flights weekly, carrying over one million passengers annually, between China and Japan. From Ctrip, a company which runs one of the largest travel websites in China and which entered the Japanese market last year where it is expanding operations, Executive General Manager Amy Yao of Vacation Dept. said that his company regards Japan, the most common overseas travel destination for Chinese, as an important strategic base abroad. He gave an example of collaboration done with Japan Post and announced Ctrip’s future business strategy for Japan, emphasizing the keywords “localization,” ”innovation,” ”human resources” and “investment”.
Following the seminar, participants enjoyed a lively session mingling with each of the governors and representatives of the Chinese companies. The occasion became an excellent opportunity to convey information on the potential for business in Japan’s tourism field.